December 18, 2010
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

Butterbeer (yes! from the magical world of harry potter!) is meant to taste "a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch." This version is nonalcoholic, so kids can have it too, but for an adult butterbeer you can replace the cider with Woodchuck hard apple cider and add a few glugs of spiced rum for good measure! —arielleclementine

Test Kitchen Notes

More hot toddy than punch, this sweet concoction is inspired by Harry Potter's wizardry and will surely be enjoyed by both kids and adults. A sweet and buttery syrup combines with apple cider and vanilla to create a velvety, warm cider base. The ginger ale adds a little pep and the unsweetened whipped cream balances out the 'almost' too sweet butterbeer. Do try the adult version, add a dash of rum to cut the sweetness. —jvcooks

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup ginger ale
  • whipped cream, for garnish
  1. Make the butterscotch syrup: melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, 1/4 cup cream, and sea salt. Whisk to combine. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in vanilla and cider and heat until very hot, and the butterscotch syrup has dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in ginger ale. Serve with loads of whipped cream on top.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Moriah Leech
    Moriah Leech
  • basileorri
  • lapadia
  • boulangere
  • mrslarkin
I have always loved food. My favorite books as a kid always featured food (eg. The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies- so much candy!) and I loved cooking shows like Yan Can Cook and The Frugal Gourmet. I started cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for my family when I was 13 years old. I have food52 to thank for inspiring me to come up with my own recipes, as well as for introducing me to a community of fantastic cooks and their amazing recipes. I try my best to cook locally and seasonally, and I tend to prefer straightforward, simple recipes where the ingredients get to shine. I live in wonderful Austin, Texas with my husband, Andy (a video game programmer) and my son, Henry (an 8-month-old who loves to eat).

41 Reviews

Moriah L. December 20, 2020
Yummy and fairly easy to make! Very pleased! We are thinking we may make it for the New Years Lock-in for our churches youth group!
Moriah L. December 20, 2020
Yummy and fairly easy to make! Very pleased! We are thinking we may make it for the New Years Lock-in for our churches youth group!
Minhazuddin October 12, 2017
Hi! I was wondering if I could sub the ginger ale with Schweppes Ginger Ale?
Jeff October 26, 2013
Hi there, is there any way to cut out some of the sweetness in the recipe? While tasting great this recipe was so rich it was hard to have more than a sip of the drink at a time
Rose L. November 11, 2013
I bet you could bring the sugar down by choosing a natural, not-so-sweet apple cider, and replacing the ginger ale with a spicy ginger beer... I'd be wary of using less sugar to make the butterscotch, but you might be able to experiment - take out a teaspoon or soon and see ow that affects the flavor. But really, most of your sugar is coming from the liquids, the cider and the ginger ale. Wonder if you drop the ginger ale for club soda and add some fresh ground ginger instead? Looks like a great recipe, though. I know what I'll be making this Christmas!
Rose L. November 11, 2013
Sorry, should say "a teaspoon or so, and see how that affects..."
Ceege October 24, 2013
Per this recipe, up to what point can I make this "ahead" in order to take to a party? I think this would be the hit of the evening. I plan on taking along a bottle of spiced rum for those who want to imbibe.
seanmccoy October 21, 2013
Tried this tonight, and gave a cup to one of my daughters who came back into the kitchen and said "I don't know what this is, but it's heaven in a cup!" I thought it was very good, but would like it to be a bit frothier and, if possible, slightly less sweet. Is the taste of the Ginger Ale critical, or do you think substituting Club Soda might work? For next time, I'm considering first beating the heavy cream a bit before adding it, and increasing the ratio of the butterscotch syrup to the cider to make it thicker. Also wondering if a little cinnamon or nutmeg might be good. And definitely a bit of rum! Thoughts, anyone?
basileorri March 30, 2013
This is probably the most random comment ever but where can I buy that mug!
It's gorgeous!!
& also, I definitely intend upon making this during the holidays... two more seasons to go! (:
Hollyeve November 24, 2012
I made this twice this Thanksgiving weekend and it was a big hit. The first time I only made a single batch, the second time I doubled it. Absolutely a keeper.
Christine_K March 15, 2012
Has anyone try this cold? Thank you!
arielleclementine March 15, 2012
Hi! I haven't intentionally served this cold, but I have had it after it had come to room temperature, and I still thought it was pretty tasty. I think it would be pretty nice over ice! Please let me know how it goes if you end up trying it!
lapadia November 10, 2011
Lovely recipe and photo!
arielleclementine November 10, 2011
oh thank you! i wanted to put it in a big beer stein for the photo, but i didn't have one, so i settled for one of my mom's tea cups :)
boulangere November 8, 2011
Oh love this - especially the two versions! I've wondered and wondered what butter beer was.
mrslarkin November 8, 2011
boulangere, this is really amazing stuff!! we make it a lot. arielleclementine, might be a good contender for this week's theme!!
boulangere November 8, 2011
Great to know, mrsl. I can so see making this when the "kids" are here for Christmas.
arielleclementine November 10, 2011
thanks friends! you guys are really nice :)
mrslarkin July 13, 2011
We've made this a few times already. It's awesome! On the menu for tomorrow's festivities, of course!
arielleclementine July 13, 2011
Oh hooray! And thank you! I'm lucky to live near the Alamo drafthouse, which allows you to bring your brand new (read: scream-y) baby to special matinees of new releases! Can't wait to see it!!
mrslarkin July 13, 2011
haha! isn't the alamo drafthouse the one that ejected the texting psycho lady? I want to go there! Kids are seeing it in 3-D tomorrow midnight.They will probably be scream-y too. And they're teenagers. :)
arielleclementine July 21, 2011
the very same! they're so cool. also, you're hilarious :)
campagnes December 21, 2010
Holy cow.. this sounds wonderful!
arielleclementine December 21, 2010
thanks so much!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 19, 2010
This looks just wonderful! I'm making this over the holidays for sure!!!
arielleclementine December 21, 2010
hooray! thank you!
mrslarkin December 18, 2010
Funny!!! The Literal Harry Potter Trailer is really funny too:
arielleclementine December 21, 2010
yeeessss! love it!
healthierkitchen December 18, 2010
I'm sure my daughter will want to try this!
arielleclementine December 18, 2010
thanks! i hope she loves it :) i remember the first time my mom made us 'magic cookies' (what she called seven layer bars), i was captivated with the idea of them being magical. it's fun to be a kid!
hardlikearmour December 18, 2010
Yummy....for an adult version I bet a rum or bourbon would be great in this!
arielleclementine December 18, 2010
absolutely! this was my attempt to recreate the virgin butterbeer sold at the alamo drafthouse, the awesome theater here in austin where i saw the latest HP movie. they also sold an alchoholic one, which was made with woodchuck apple cider and sailor jerry spiced rum!
drbabs December 18, 2010
Sounds yummy! (Even though I don't get the Harry Potter I the only person in the universe who hasn't read those books?!)
hardlikearmour December 18, 2010
pretty much!
Lizthechef December 18, 2010
It was the winter drink of choice for the magic students in the books ...I want to go to Hogwarts!
arielleclementine December 18, 2010
thanks, drbabs! give the books a spin if you have a chance- they're really wonderful :)
arielleclementine December 18, 2010
oh me too, Lizthechef! more specifically, i'd like to be at one of the Christmas feasts at Hogwarts!
mrslarkin December 18, 2010
Oh, yum! My kids will lurv this! Perfect to bring along in a thermos to a quidditch tournament!
arielleclementine December 18, 2010
thanks mrslarkin! oh man, did you see the quidditch world cup on the news a month or so ago? so much fun!
mrslarkin December 18, 2010
yes! a blast! I loved the last movie (I got weepy at the end). Can't wait for the next one. Have you seen Potter Puppet Pals on youtube? So so funny.
arielleclementine December 18, 2010
yes! i love love those! i also love brad neely's 'wizard people' - where he narrates the entire first movie terribly (nsfw!):